Northbridge, MA Pedestrian Fatally Injured During Accident Involving Elderly Driver; NHTSA Launches Strategic Plan to Keep Elderly Drivers Safe

Northbridge, MA police reported that a pedestrian was fatally injured last week after being struck in a crosswalk by an elderly driver who did not stop.

Police located the car and driver nearly three miles away; ten minutes after the accident had occurred. Investigators called the incident a “low speed accident.” The accident remains under investigation, but the police have since suspended the driver’s license.

There is a nationwide stigma about elderly drivers and the risk they pose to others on the road. Just like teenage drivers, elderly drivers are especially vulnerable to motor vehicle accidents. In December of 2013, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration announced a five-year strategic plan to improve safety for elderly drivers and passengers.

Though the elderly demographic are statistically among the safest on the road, the number of older drivers (defined as age 65 and older), has increased by 20% and the number of licensed older drivers increased by 21% — to 35 million in 2012 according to NHTSA. In 2012, NHTSA reported that more than 5,500 older drivers died and 214,000 were injured in car crashes; a 3% increase in fatalities and 16% increase in injuries as compared to 2011. That includes an increased risk of death and serious injury in even low-severity crashes, NHTSA said. According to a report by USA Today, elderly drivers are less likely than other drivers to be in crashes involving high speeds or alcohol, but they are more likely to crash at intersections where they miss a stop sign or turn left in front of oncoming traffic.

Responding to the data figures, NHTSA has launched a new five-year strategic plan that would increase the safety of elderly drivers and passengers. The plan will encompass three key areas:

1.) Vehicle safety, particularly with regard to advanced technologies such as vehicle-to-vehicle communications, collision avoidance and crashworthiness; that’s in addition to upgrades to NHTSA’s New Car Assessment Program, including the new “Silver” rating system for protection of older occupants.

2.) Data collection, for which NHTSA intends to refine its systems as it continues to examine crash rates and injuries, as well as clinical and naturalistic studies of physical, cognitive and perceptual changes associated with drivers’ behavior as they age.

3.) Driver behavior, for which NHTSA will focus efforts on public education and identifying issues pertaining to at-risk drivers’ functional changes such as vision, strength, flexibility and cognition. This effort includes the all-new Older Driver Highway Safety Program Guidelines.

Whether you are involved in a car accident or were the victim of a pedestrian incident, obvious questions arise including: Who is responsible for paying medical bills? How can I collect lost wages? When will my car get fixed? How much is my case worth? What do I do if the accident was a hit and run?

At the law offices of Altman & Altman, we have specialized in all types car accident cases for nearly 50 years, and have represented thousands of clients throughout the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. With such experience and knowledge, as well as a successful track record in handling motor vehicle accidents, including MBTA accidents, pedestrian accidents, bicycle accidents, taxi cab accidents, and motorcycle accidents, our team is confident that we can help our clients achieve the compensation they deserve for their injuries and suffering.

If you or a loved one was involved in an automobile accident, do not hesitate to contact our office and speak to one of our seasoned Massachusetts Car Accident Attorneys to discuss your options. Upon initial review of your case, we will be able to determine whether you qualify for receiving compensation, and will guide you on how to proceed pursuing a case against liable parties. We understand that a car accident can be devastating and cause not only physical stress, but financial emotional stress for you and your family as well. Call our office today to schedule a consultation with one of our lawyers. All initial consultations are free, and our attorneys are available 24/7 to assist you with any questions or concerns you have about your case.

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